Putin the Intellectual?
maybe he is smarter than we think
Back at the beginning of the Ukraine debacle the Russians published an essay by Vladimir Putin "On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians." I wrote about it in “Putin’s Russian History Lesson.”
Of course, I wrote, Putin didn’t write the article. Give me a break. Later, I learned about “far-right” philosopher Alexandr Dugin, said to be “Putin’s Brain.” Oh, so that was it!
But then I saw the performance put on by Putin in his 2/6/24 interview on X/Twitter with Tucker Carlson in the Kremlin.
I tell you, Putin may not have written that article, but he certainly knows what it was all about, and he could tell the history of Russia and Ukraine on live TV for half an hour in a coherent and intelligent manner.
I happen to have been reading a bunch about the history of Eastern Europe in the past months, including The Other Europe: Eastern Europe to 1945 by E. Garrison Walters. And Putin’s narrative did not contradict Waters. I knew about Galicia, once part of the Austrian Empire, now part of Ukraine: Lviv used to be called Lemberg. I knew about the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth. And so on. If you are interested, check out the “Territorial Evolution of Poland” at La Wik. Check out the GIF on the page with the ever changing borders of the area of western Russia, eastern Poland, and Ukraine. It ain’t pretty.
Let’s just say that Joe Biden or Donald Trump could never hold forth on American history in the way that Putin talked about Russian history. Putin even snuck in a reference to Dostoevsky.
A couple of other points. Putin suggested that the Russians were promised, or at least hoped, that after the fall of the Soviet Union the hostility between east and west would be ended. Obviously that did not happen.
Was that Russia’s fault? Was it the fault of the US and Western Europe?
Or was it the fault of the Deep State that has been organized and dedicated to oppose Russia since 1945, and there has been nobody in political power with the vision and the cojones to change things? Napoleon Bonaparte: “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.”
Maybe that is just as well. Napoleon, they say, had a vision of a united Europe. Lenin had a vision of a world of communism. Hitler had a vision of a Reich that would last a thousand years. Our present rulers have a vision of a universal society devoted to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and clean, renewable energy.
Probably, with that kind of vision, it is just as well if our present rulers stumble into the future, mumbling their wokey responses, without really thinking what they are doing, and are dumbfounded every time they stub their toe on some Trumpian pebble on the road.
My faith is that the future is organic. Not food-wise, but in the sense of the billions of humans adapting individually and voluntarily to the challenges of life, and surprising us with the remarkable ideas and adaptations they invent. As the strategic geniuses surprise us with their foolishness and stupidity.